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This section focuses on issues such as political participation; welfare, Social Security and other benefits; support options and service provision; poverty; housing and urban environments as well as other articles on various topics related to public policy.

Adler, M. (1993). Disability among women on AFDC: An issue revisited. Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved August 29, 2006 from

Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) is the major government program which provides cash assistance for low-income children and their parents. Eligibility is based on income and family characteristics, not disability. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal program, which provides cash assistance to low-income persons with disabilities. Yet, according to the 1984 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), 22.3% of all women on AFDC between the ages of 15-45 has a disability. In 1990, the proportion remained significantly high at 19%.

Since 1984, a number of welfare reform proposals intended to lessen dependence on AFDC have been enacted. The current Administration is continuing to address welfare dependency. The purpose of this paper is to update results on the disability status of women of AFDC based on the 1990 SIPP with welfare reform in mind.

Two sets of comparisons are made: (1) between women aged 15-45 according to their disability and AFDC status (on AFDC, never on AFDC and formerly on); and (2) between women on AFDC with and without disabilities.

The current welfare reform effort is still evolving and specifics cannot be given here. Past welfare reform efforts have focused on work and job training. Disability is of special concern, because it often limits or prevents the ability to work. Disability among other family members is also examined, as caregiving obligations could interfere with work efforts.

Albiston, C. R. (2005, March). Bargaining in the shadow of social institutions: Competing discourses and social change in workplace mobilization of civil rights. Law & Society Review, 39(1), 11-50.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires employers to provide job-protected leave, but little is known about how these leave rights operate in practice or how they interact with other normative systems to construct the meaning of leave. Drawing on interviews with workers who negotiated contested leaves, this study examines how social institutions influence workplace mobilization of these rights. I find that leave rights remain embedded within institutionalized conceptions of work, gender, and disability that shape workers' perceptions, preferences, and choices about mobilizing their rights. I also find, however, that workers can draw on law as a culture discourse to challenge these assumptions, to build coalitions, and to renegotiate the meaning of leave.

Acs, G., & Loprest, P. (1999, Winter). The effect of disabilities on exits from AFDC. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 18(1), 28-49.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 replaces AFDC, the largest means-tested cash assistance program for low-income families, with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. Unlike AFDC, assistance under TANF is limited to five years in a lifetime, and states are required to move families from the assistance rolls into jobs. But not all adult welfare recipients can easily move to work because either they themselves are disabled or they have a child with disabilities requiring special care. This article examines the extent and impact of disability among families on AFDC to gain insight into the potential impact of changes under TANF. Using data from the 1990 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we find that in nearly 30 percent of the families on AFDC either the mother or child has a disability. Furthermore, we find that having a disability significantly lowers the probability that a woman leaves AFDC for work but not for other reasons, such as a change in living arrangements. Finally, we find little evidence that having a child with a disability affects the probability of leaving AFDC for any reason.

Alcorn, P., Gropp, H., Neubauer, J., & Reitsma-Street, M. (2004, January). Housing realities and requirements for women living with disabilities in the capital region of British Columbia. Victoria, BC: Women’s Housing Action Team. Retrieved July 20, 2005 from  

“There is…little information on the housing situations or perceptions of women…who are living with disabilities. A research study by the Women’s Housing Action Team was conducted in 2003 to help redress this gap. This short report offers a commentary on the magnitude of concerns and a summary of housing realities and requirements identified by a diverse group of women living with visible and invisible physical disabilities in the Capital Regional District of British Columbia.”

Allan, R., Anderson, A., Law, J., Lindsay, W. R., Quinn, K., Smith, A., & Smith A. H. W. (2004, September). Women with intellectual disability who have offended: Characteristics and outcome. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 48(6), 580-590.

Background. There have been a few reports describing the characteristics and outcomes of male offenders with intellectual disability (ID). Therefore, while we are building up a reasonable picture of this client group, there are almost no reports of female offenders with ID. This paper is a preliminary attempt to present information on a small cohort of female offenders.

Methods. Characteristics of female offenders are presented including information on age, IQ, mental illness, referring agents, crimes committed, problems identified, sexual and physical abuse and outcome. Some comparisons are made with corresponding descriptions of male cohorts in Lindsay et al. (2004). Results. The main result is that females constitute 9% of referrals to the service. Other notable results are that: at 61% sexual abuse in the cohort of female offenders is higher than in male cohorts but at 38.5% physical abuse is no higher than in appropriate comparison groups; as with mainstream female offenders identification of mental illness is high at 67%; and total re-offending over 5 years was 22% but, excluding prostitution, was only 16.5%.

Conclusions. In some respects, this cohort of female offenders shows similar characteristics to their male counterparts. However, there are higher levels of mental illness, higher levels of sexual abuse and lower levels of re-offending. It is hypothesized that as females constitute such a low percentage of referrals, it suggests that women with ID do not show the same levels of sexually abusive behaviour or aggressive behaviour--the two most frequent reasons for male referral. Therefore, an intervening variable such as mental illness may indeed be a significant factor. Lower re-offending rates may indicate the success of interventions directed at psychological problems and mental illness.

Backhouse, C. (2005). “Pleasing appearance…only adds to the danger”: The 1930 insanity hearing of Violet Hypatia Bowyer. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 17(1), 1-13.

The state's legal authority to detain individuals within insane asylums in early twentieth-century Canada was deeply influenced by factors of gender, class, and race. Violet Hypatia Bowyer, a working-class, white woman who was just twenty-two years old in 1928, was initially incarcerated in Ontario for leading a "dissolute" life. Wrongly diagnosed as "insane" by prison officials, she tried valiantly, but failed, to secure her release through legal challenge. The expert testimony of the prison officials, the psychiatric "experts," and the decision of the court all testify to the terrifying coerciveness of law in Canadian history.

Bedard, C., Drummond, C., Ricciardi, J., & Husband, F. (2003). Community women's circle: A partnership program developed to connect and serve homeless, poor and socially marginalized women with developmental disabilities. Journal on Developmental Disabilities, 10(1), 55-59. Retrieved July 21, 2005 from

For approximately three years Street Health Nursing Foundation, Regent Park Community Health Centre and Surrey Place Centre (SPC) have been conducting a drop-in, support group for women who have developmental disabilities and are homeless, poor, and socially marginalized. We found that these women came from a different culture and shared some increased vulnerabilities not shared by the clients we meet at SPC. In order to make the group accessible to these women, keep them coming and hopefully help them to get adequate nutrition, we offered something to eat and drink. The cost of their transportation was also covered. Our aim was to: 1) connect with women who could be referred to SPC services; 2) help them develop a positive sense of themselves; 3) help them to develop socially acceptable and satisfying ways of interacting with others; 4) help them to determine and express their own attitudes, feelings, and values; 5) increase their sense of independence; 6) increase their knowledge base regarding their heath; and 7) develop a method of evaluating the group and individual outcomes. Some of the topics covered in the group included: general health, education, jobs, housing problems, abuse, relationships, feelings, being safe at home and in the community, being assertive, self esteem, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, losses, and problem solving. Structured monthly workshops have included such topics as biracial relationships, coping with frustration, and self esteem.

Behuniak, S. M. (2003, September). Elusive equality: Women’s rights, public policy, and the law [Book review]. Law & Politics Book Review, 13(9). Retrieved April 5, 2005 from

This book review begins: “As used in this book’s title, ‘elusive’ could refer to at least two different points regarding women’s equality. First, the goal of achieving equality of rights for American women is elusive as it evades the reach of those activists, interest groups, courts, legislatures, and executive branch members who have worked to achieve it. Second, equality is an elusive concept whose definition is so difficult to comprehend or agree upon that it dodges evaluation or measure. Given that the choice of definition would lead to the writing of two very different books, Mezey establishes from the start that she uses the term in the former sense to argue that women’s equality has not been realized.“

A main criticism by Behuniak, a Political Science professor at Lemoyne College, is that “…employing the liberal feminist definition of equality as sameness is that it tends to minimize not only the differences between men and women, but those among women themselves. ‘Women’ becomes a universalized concept that implies a sameness of experience and interests that cut across race, sexual orientation, class, and disability. This too has implications for the analysis of how close to equality we have come because we are not sure which women we are studying…how has the Americans with Disabilities Act and subsequent cases affected disabled women in particular? That liberal feminism tends to be blind to social signifiers other than sex is an old criticism, but since the book will serve as a textbook for students, the choice made not to study these differences among women should be acknowledged. That most of these are not the stuff of federal court cases may give Mezey reason to omit them, but this also speaks volumes about the limits of federal law to address the inequalities that many women experience, and questions whether we can in fact assess women’s equality without looking beyond federal law.”

Besculides, M., Zaveri, H., Farris, R., & Will, J. (2006, January). Identifying Best Practices for WISEWOMAN Programs Using a Mixed-Methods Evaluation. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(1), 1-9. Available:

Because recommendations on best practices for public health programs typically are drawn from unique settings, they can be challenging to implement in programs already in operation. The authors describe a mixed-methods evaluation that integrated quantitative and qualitative inquiry to identify best practices in implementing lifestyle interventions in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's WISEWOMAN program. The program involves screening for risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and lifestyle interventions for participants, who must be uninsured and ineligible for Medicaid, and discusses lessons learned in using the approach.

Blackford, K. A. (1993). Erasing mothers with disabilities through Canadian family related policy. Disability, Handicap & Society, 8(3), 281-294.

Blackford explores family policy in Canada as it pertains to mothers with disabilities. She argues that Canadian public policy claims to empower disadvantaged groups, and while women with disabilities who are mothers fit into this group, the author shows that they are still, in fact, discriminated against. The author demonstrates through federal, provincial, and municipal government policies that inadequate accommodation for women with disabilities denies them the rights and entitlements due to all Canadian citizens.

Bradley, C. J., Given, C. W., & Roberts, C. (2003, November). Correlates of late stage breast cancer and death in a Medicaid-insured population. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 14(4), 503-515.

The authors examine how patient and insurance characteristics influence breast cancer state at diagnosis and survival in women insured by Medicaid. Two risk factors were identified for women under 65: absence of Medicaid enrollment prior to diagnosis and residency in a nursing home. Women who were not Medicaid insured prior to diagnosis were nearly two times more likely to have late stage disease relative to women during the month of diagnosis, and women receiving nursing home benefits had 2.47 higher odds of late stage disease relative to women who did not receive this type of care. These two variables also influenced the likelihood of death. Additional investigation is needed to evaluate breast cancer in nursing homes and to understand what, if any, care women receive prior to Medicaid enrollment.

Brandon, P. D. (2000, December). Child care utilization among working mothers raising children with disabilities. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 21(4), 343-364.

Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study investigates factors associated with utilization of child care among working mothers raising children with disabilities. Results provide a national-level description of the use of nonparental child care among working mothers raising children with disabilities. Multivariate analyses show that the hours of day care or relative-provided child care used by mothers raising children with disabilities are influenced by demographic and economic factors and by the specific nature of the childhood disability. The study also finds that a child's disability status is less important in a mother's decision to enter the labor force than other factors, such as the mother's own disability status.

Brandon, P. D., & Hogan, D. P. (2004, August). Impediments to mothers leaving welfare: The role of maternal and child disability. Population Research and Policy Review, 23(4), 419-436.

This research examines the relationship between disabilities in families and exits from welfare. Controlling for variations in characteristics known to be associated with welfare exits, this study investigates and documents that specific configurations of disabilities in families are also strongly associated with reduced rates of welfare exits. The impact of a child with a disability on welfare exits is similar to the mother's own disability, with an impact equivalent in magnitude to minority status. The presence of a child with a disability limits the chances that a mother with disability will leave welfare. Our findings add to the literature on welfare dependency and have implications for welfare reforms that emphasize work, self-sufficiency, and reducing poverty.

Bradwein, P., & Scotch, R. K. (2000). The gender analogy in the disability discrimination literature. Ohio State Law Journal, 62(1), 465-479.

This article examines how gender analogies are used by disability scholars to gain credibility for claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act. By devoting analytic attention to the complicated nature of the disability-gender analogy, this article details the benefits of such analogies as well as their limitations. "Common sense" assumptions about gender help explain why certain sex discrimination claims fail under Title VII. An exploration of this dynamic will help shed light on the nature of institutional barriers to disability rights claims under the ADA.

Burr, J. A., Mutchler, J. E., & Warren, J. P. (2005). State commitment to home and community-based services: Effects on independent living for older unmarried women. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 17(1), 1-18.

This study examines the impact of state variation in commitment to the provision of home and community-based services on the living arrangement outcomes of older unmarried females with functional limitations. We combine data from the 1990 U.S. Census of Population (PUMS) with state-level information on long-term care home and community based service expenditures, nursing home bed availability, and Medicaid nursing home costs from a special report that compares state variation in long-term care systems. Using multilevel logistic regression modeling techniques, we find that the risk of institutionalization compared to community living arrangements is reduced as spending for home and community-based services at the state level increases. We discuss these findings in light of policy changes during the 1990s.

Chouinard, V. (2006, August). On the dialectics of differencing: Disabled women, the state and housing issues. Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 13(4), 401-417.

In this article, I discuss how neoliberal state policies and practices and processes of negative differencing have contributed to growing economic and housing insecurity for citizens in need, in particular disabled women in need of provincial income assistance in Ontario, Canada. I argue that their increasingly insecure relationships to housing and home can be explained as outcomes of dialectical processes of differencing through neoliberal regimes of state rule. A key advantage of this approach is that it emphasises how growing economic and housing security for more affluent citizens is linked causally to increasing insecurity and misery for others. I begin by discussing how diverse relations to housing and home can be conceptualised as outcomes of dialectical processes of differencing in advanced capitalist societies. Next, I illustrate this approach by discussing how changes in state regulation of housing and income assistance programmes in the province of Ontario have worked to advantage more affluent citizens at the expense of disabled and other citizens in need. This is followed by a detailed analysis of regulatory processes shaping how women receiving provincial income assistance are negatively differenced and situated in relation to housing and home. Here I draw on interviews with women receiving provincial income support through the ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Programme).

Chouinard, V. (2010). Women with disabilities' experiences of government employment assistance in Canada. Disability & Rehabilitation, 32(2), 148-158. 

Purpose. The purpose of this article is to explore women with disabilities' experiences of government employment assistance in Canada. 

Method. The article draws on the results of an online survey conducted in 2006. Data were coded and analysed according to key themes. 

Results. The results indicate that many of the women with disabilities who responded to the survey regarded the employment assistance they have received as of very limited importance to their abilities to find and keep paid work. Their comments suggest that existing forms of government employment assistance, such as the provision of wage subsidies to employers, may be of limited effectiveness in enabling at least some women with disabilities to find and keep paid work. The women's comments point to the limitations of existing employment assistance strategies including the need to shift program emphases away from individualistic models aimed at ‘reforming the worker’ and toward systemic barriers to employment. 

Conclusions. The article concludes by discussing the implications of survey results for future research and strategies for improving the types of employment assistance available to women with disabilities.

Chouinard, V., & Crooks, V. A. (2005, January). 'Because they have all the power and I have none': State restructuring of income and employment supports and disabled women's lives in Ontario, Canada. Disability & Society, 20(1), 19-32

We examine the connections between neo-liberal forms of state restructuring and intervention in disabled people's lives, looking in particular at how these have affected disabled women's experiences of an income support program, the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), in Ontario, Canada. We first outline why and how state programs have been re-designed and implemented in increasingly harsh ways as a result of such neo-liberal forms of state restructuring. Even groups formerly considered among the 'deserving poor' have found their access to social assistance diminished. We then argue that this is an outcome of state programs, policies and practices which are re-asserting and more deeply entrenching 'ableness' as a necessary condition of citizenship, inclusion and access to justice. Finally, we illustrate how disabled women's lives and well-being have been altered as a result of changes in the provision of these forms of state assistance using in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with 10 women in Ontario.

Clements, J., Clare, I., & Ezelle L.A. (1995, December). Real men, real women, real lives? Gender issues in learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Disability & Society, 10(4), 425-436.

This article seeks to define gender issues and explores the significance of these issues for challenging behaviour in the field of learning disability. It is argued that lack of awareness about these issues contributes to the development of challenging behaviour and to difficulties in identifying the needs expressed through these behaviours, whatever their origin. Specific areas examined include models of residential provision for adults, prioritisation of service activities, attribution processes (needs identification), and the sexuality of people with learning disabilities. In each area issues are raised and the implications for service practice defined.

Cohen, P. N., & Petrescu-Prahova, M. (2006, August). Gendered living arrangements among children with disabilities. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(3), 630-638.

Using data on disabilities from the 2000 Census, we found a consistent pattern of living arrangements that leaves children (aged 5 - 15 years) with disabilities living disproportionately with women. Children with disabilities are more likely to live with single parents, and especially their mothers, than are other children. Further, those who do not live with either biological parent are more likely to live in households headed by women than are other children. The results suggest that gendered living arrangements among children with disabilities are a neglected aspect of inequality in caring labor, which is an underpinning of gender inequality in general.

Cordero, A., & Kurz, B. (2006). Acculturation and the mental health of Latina women in the Women, Infant, and Children Program. Affilia, 21(1), 46-58.

Studies have reported discrepant findings about the relationship between acculturation and mental health, often because of inattention to interethnic group differences. This 2003 exploratory study of various Latina ethnic groups attending the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Program compared five measures of acculturation and mental health status/utilization. The subgroups differed on language, immigration/migration history, and the prevalence of anxiety attacks and depressive syndrome. The prevalence of anxiety attacks was the highest among those who spoke primarily Spanish, the prevalence of the depressive syndrome was the highest among those with more traditional beliefs, and the use of mental health services was the highest among those with less traditional beliefs. Implications for practice are discussed.

Currie, D. (1996). Housing issues for women with disabilities. Shelter NHA, 11(3). Retrieved June 10, 2007 from  

"Housing is, of course, not an isolated issue but is inextricably linked to other aspects of daily living, including a general sense of security and well being, a feeling of independence and control over one's life. There is almost universal agreement that housing is a basic human right, but the reality is that an overwhelming number of people - many of whom are women with disabilities - are still in search of the elusive 'appropriate, affordable, secure housing', and their numbers are increasing."

This article appeared in the now defunct Journal entitled Shelter NHA, Volume 11, Number 3, June 1996. At the time of its publication, Diana Currie was employed as the Research and Policy Officer for Women With Disabilities Australia.

Dixon, A. N., & Gatchel R. J. (1999, September). Gender and parental status as predictors of chronic low back pain disability: A prospective study. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 9(3), 195-200.

This study investigated the relationship between chronic low back pain and various psychosocioeconomic factors, especially gender, that have been found significant in previous research. A cohort of 504 acute low back pain patients was initially evaluated and followed via a structured telephone interview at six months and one year after the evaluation in order to assess return-to-work and compensation status. Overall, the results demonstrated that the individuals who did not return to work were more likely to be female, single with children, and who have received compensation for their injury. These findings further document that single working mothers are at greater risk for developing chronic medical problems.

Doe, T., & Kimpson, S. (1999, March). Enabling income: CPP disability benefits and women with disabilities. Ottawa, ON: Research Directorate, Status of Women Canada. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a contributory insurance program designed to be universal for all working Canadians, originally intended to replace a portion of lost income for workers at retirement or disablement. Currently, women (and men) with disabilities who show the capacity to earn income are generally disallowed CPP disability benefits because of the strict definition of “disability” and administrative inconsistencies. This research uses existing quantitative data and new qualitative data gathered in focus groups of disabled women in four cities across Canada, including qualitative data from a focus group with CPP administrators who were consulted on how the CPP currently works before developing cost-effective recommendations to “enable income.” These alternate disability pension policies would distribute resources equitably and respond to circumstances in the lives of women with disabilities, such as fluctuating health and ability to work. Although it is recognized that any policy reforms would affect both women and men with disabilities, this research focuses on women because of the inordinately adverse impact of current official federal definitions of work and disability, and thus policy, on the lives of disabled women. The report contends that, by eliminating the penalty for working, the CPP could empower women, provide incentives for returning to work by removing the threat of losing CPP disability benefits, generate needed income for the CPP and increase taxable dollars for general revenue. The proposed changes extend recent (1995) policy changes focused on creating “work incentives” for people with disabilities and would allow disabled women (and men) to return to work when they are able, without penalty, until such time as they can sustain themselves financially. Suggested policy reforms also address the need to redefine “disability,” aligning it more closely with the complex reality of being a woman living with disability. Themes emerging from these women’s experiences of the CPP demonstrate the difficulties they experience, including the fear of losing secured CPP disability pension income if they engage in paid employment.

Else-Quest, N. (2004, Fall). Lecture 8: Marginalized women. 522: Psychology of Women, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from  

These are brief lecture notes on “marginalized women” for a course on Psychology of Women, with an emphasis on women with disabilities. Complete information on this course is available at  

Emmett, T., & Alant, E. (2006). Women and disability: exploring the interface of multiple disadvantage. Development Southern Africa, 23(4), 445-460.

In general, women with disabilities are more discriminated against and disadvantaged than men with disabilities. In the industrialised countries there are consistent, although not necessarily large, gender differences in income, employment and education for people with disabilities. Poverty and deprivation magnify these inequalities, and can determine access to food, care and social inclusion, and even threaten survival. Women with disabilities are also at greater risk of physical, mental and sexual abuse, and because of stigmatisation have lower marriage prospects. There are more barriers to access and participation for women than for men, and mothers and caregivers in particular face enormous challenges when raising children with disabilities or chronic illnesses, especially within the context of women-headed households and early pregnancy. This article emphasises the need to approach disability as an integral part of development rather than as a separate need competing with other causes and manifestations of poverty.

Fairchild, S. R. (2002). Women with disabilities: The long road to equality. Journal 
of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 6
(2), 13-28.

Although the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was instrumental in raising societal conscious awareness of the issues and discriminatory practices towards people with disabilities, the evidence points to a lack of full inclusion in the mainstream of American society. Due to the double discrimination of gender and disability status, women with disabilities confront major obstacles even more boldly to achieve equality and full participation in society. This article examines some of the current meanings of disability, vital statistics, and current discriminatory practices in specific areas for women with disabilities such as, human rights and abuse, relationships and sexual functioning, health maintenance issues, employment, and environmental barriers. Positive strategies for social workers to become involved at both the macro and micro levels of practice as well as social policy level are identified.

Fairchild, S., & Quinn, P. (2000, July 29). Socio-empowerment issues for women with disabilities. Paper presented at CASSW Pre-Conference Symposium on Women, Joint Conference of the International Federation of Social Workers and the International Association of Schools of Social Work, Montreal, Canada. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from  

"In this discussion, we chose to examine the legislative and political environment affecting women with disabilities in four different countries: India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and South Africa. The intent was to determine what laws and policies have been enacted and how these efforts have affected women with disabilities."

Foley, S. M., Marrone, J., & Simon, M. (2002, November). Cruise ships and kayaks: Welfare and rehabilitation approaches for women with disabilities in poverty. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 20(6), 659-680.

Women with disabilities have low employment rates and about one-third live in poverty. They represent half of the population using either services of the vocational rehabilitation (VR) system or the welfare system, and many use both. Although both systems have made gains in improving their employment status, neither comprehensively addresses the needs of this population. Welfare policy has encouraged state level innovation and moved large numbers of people into employment in as little as five years. State welfare agencies offer a range of services specifically addressing the needs of families with children. VR agencies have decades of specific experience assisting people with disabilities gain employment. Welfare reform has been the cruise ship moving large numbers of people across an ocean. VR agencies have been the kayak builders designing specialized small craft to move specific people along tributaries. What can they learn from each other?

Goldblatt, B. (2009, September). Gender, rights and the disability grant in South Africa. Development Southern Africa, 26(3), 369-382.

South Africa's disability grant is critical for the survival of many disabled people and their families, and is especially important to disabled women, who face further disadvantage because of their family responsibilities, their generally deeper poverty and their greater vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and other illnesses. Valuable engagement between feminism and disability theory offers a useful framework for understanding the needs of disabled women in South Africa's social assistance system. This paper sets out the findings of a study of the disability grant system in two provinces in South Africa. It discusses the administrative problems with the system and the financial and other costs that burden the grant applicants and beneficiaries. It proposes that a comprehensive response to poverty, disability and gender inequality is needed, and makes specific recommendations for an improved system.

Goodman, L. A., Glenn, C., Bohlig, A. Banyard, V., & Borges, A. (2009). Feminist relational advocacy: Processes and outcomes from the perspective of low-income women with depression. The Counseling Psychologist, 37(6), 848-876.
This article describes a qualitative study of how low-income women who are struggling with symptoms of depression experience feminist relational advocacy, a new model that is informed by feminist, multicultural, and community psychology theories. Using qualitative content analysis of participant interviews, the authors describe the processes and outcomes of feminist relational advocacy from participants' perspectives; they also consider how emergent themes fit with principles of the model, including the importance of women's narratives, the inseparability of emotional and practical support, the centrality of the advocacy relationship, and oppression as a source of emotional distress. The article concludes with a discussion of the practice and research implications of the study, highlighting the possibilities of feminist relational advocacy as a new tool for counseling psychologists and the lessons for advocacy models in general.

Han, L., Barrilleaux, & Quadagno, J. (1996). Race and gender differences in the distribution of home and community-based services in Florida. In M. E. Cowart & J. Quadagno (Eds.), Health care reform, long-term care, and the future of an aging society [Feature issue]. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 7(3/4), 93-107.

This article examines the distribution of home and community-based services (HCBS) under Florida's Medicaid waiver program. Controlling for personal and community characteristics, it was found that gender and race significantly affect the access of the disabled adult population to HCBS services, with women and nonwhites significantly more likely to be receiving HCBS services. At the county level, the likelihood of one's being in the waiver program is contingent on the racial composition and level of segregation of the county. People residing in counties with substantial proportions of nonwhites are less likely to receive HCBS services--whatever their race. However, the higher the rate of racial segregation in the county, the higher the probability that the Medicaid disabled adult population will receive HCBS services. The Medicaid waiver program allows older, disabled black women to remain in their home neighborhoods rather than having to move to predominantly white areas where nursing homes are concentrated. Thus, the HCBS program not only provides them with a form of care that is preferred by most older people but also resolves market problems stemming from the lack of nursing homes in segregated areas by taking advantage of support systems in black households. 

The feature issue this article was published in was also simultaneously published as From Nursing Homes to Home Care.

Haniff-Cleofas, R, & Khedr, R. (2005, January). Women and urban environments: Women with disabilities in the urban environment. Toronto: National Network on Environments and Women’s Health, Bureau of Women’s Health and Gender Analysis, Health Canada & Toronto Women’s Call to Action. Retrieved July 21, 2005 from  

“The issues concerning women with disabilities are immense. Much research, however, limits its focus only to the barriers to employment for persons with disabilities. An examination is needed of the broader social participation of women with disabilities by focusing on how issues of identity, accessibility, poverty, housing supports, transportation, and urban governance intersect with one another.”

The National Network on Environments and Women's Health partnered with Toronto Women's Call to Action in January 2005 to produce background papers for NNEWH's March 4th workshop entitled Building Healthy Cities for Canadian Women. This is one of five papers.

Haveman, R., Holden, K., Wolfe, B., Smith, P., & Wilson, K. (2000). The changing economic status of disabled women, 1982–1991 Trends and their determinants. In D. S. Salkever & A. Sorkin (Eds.), The economics of disability [Research in Human Capital and Development Vol. 13], (pp. 51-80). New York: Elsevier.

In this paper, we provide an assessment of the intertemporal economic well-being of a representative sample of females who became new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries in 1982. We compare their economic circumstances over the 1982 to 1991 period with those of both disabled men who became new SSDI beneficiaries in 1982, and a matched sample of nondisabled females who had sufficient work experience for benefit eligibility should they have become disabled. In 1982, the new SSDI women beneficiaries were a relatively poor segment of U.S. society. One quarter of them lived in poverty, and 48 percent had incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line. Over the subsequent decade, some of those married in 1982 lost husbands and the income contributed by their husbands. Yet, as of 1991, over one half of these disabled women lived in families with income below 150 percent of the poverty line. Social Security benefits to disabled women have played an important, and growing, role in sustaining economic status. Nevertheless, the level of well-being of these women lies substantially below that of the comparison groups, and for some groups of the women, well-being trends were negative both absolutely and relative to the comparison groups. We statistically relate the poverty status of these new female recipients to sociodemographic factors that would be expected to contribute to low well-being, and simulate the effect of Social Security benefits in reducing poverty and replacing earnings. We suggest a number of SSDI-related policy changes that could, at low cost, reduce poverty among those women with the highest incidence rates.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2007, October). Medicaid’s role for women [Women’s Issue Brief]. Menlo Park, CA: Author. Retrieved November 6, 2007 from  

This issue brief describes the wide range of health services that Medicaid covers for women throughout their life spans, including primary and preventive care, pregnancy care, reproductive health care, care for chronic conditions and disabilities, assistance with Medicare costs, and long-term services. The brief also summarizes Medicaid’s eligibility criteria, provides up to date information on the demographic characteristics of female enrollees, assesses the program’s role in facilitating access to care and discusses some of the policy challenges facing the program.

Horvath-Rose, A. E., Stapleton, D. C., & O'Day, B. (2006, Winter). Effects of welfare reform on statistics for young women with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 17(3), 166-179.

This article uses the Current Population Survey (CPS) data to show that changes in family policy implemented in the 1990s led to a substantial increase in the number of young women reporting work limitations. These changes also affected measures of socioeconomic outcomes for young women reporting limitations. Hence, the demographic changes mask the effects of changes in family policy and changes in other environmental factors on those outcomes. The findings emphasize the importance disability has in family policy issues and suggest that past underreporting of disability by young mothers might well have disguised its importance. The findings also suggest that the impact of family policy on mothers with disabilities has been quite different than the impact on other mothers. An important effect of family policy changes may have been to financially segregate mothers with low income who have disabilities from other mothers with low income, continuing to relegate them, and possibly their children, to lives of poverty and dependency.

Jans, L., & Stoddard, S. (1999). Chartbook on women and disability in the United States [An InfoUse Report]. Washington, DC: National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from  

"Disability impacts women at all ages, across the entire life course. Girls and women with disabilities encounter a variety of barriers at different points in their lives. Young girls may need special programs to make education and future career opportunities accessible to them. Working-age women face barriers to entering and participating in the workforce. Inaccessible work environments, low wages, and lack of jobs leave many women with disabilities reliant on public benefits and living in poverty. Adult women with disabilities also encounter barriers to participating fully in other aspects of life, including obstacles to parenting, and lack of access to medical care. Elderly women with disabilities are a rapidly growing group, and often require distinct forms of assistance, equipment, or services in order to live independently. The chartbook examines these issues, comparing the demographics and experiences of women with disabilities to those of other women and men with and without disabilities."

Jongbloed, L. (1998). Disability income: The experiences of women with multiple sclerosis. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(4), 193-201.

Article examining the experiences of unemployed women with multiple sclerosis (MS) with 3 income support programs: the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan, long term disability insurance, and social assistance. Data are from ethnographic interviews with 23 women. Difficulties the women have experienced with the programs are discussed, including the low level of benefits in 2 of the programs, the earnings-based component of 2 of the programs, and requirements in eligibility criteria that applicants be defined as permanently unemployable. The consequences of these policies for economic status and employment reentry are discussed, along with implications for occupational therapists.

The Kaiser Family Foundation. (2004, November). Issue brief: Medicaid’s role for women. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved March 15, 2005 from

“Despite its critical importance as a health care safety net for nearly one in ten women, Medicaid is not typically viewed as a women's health program. This briefing addresses how the program works for women; examines its role for women across the different stages of their lives; provides data on women's coverage; highlights recent state initiatives of importance to women, and discusses what women have at stake in federal and state efforts to restructure the Medicaid program.” Also available are fact sheets on women’s health insurance coverage at:,  

Kennedy, C. (1997). Mental health, disabilities, and women: A policy-oriented data review. In K. F. Schriner, S. N. Barnartt, & B. M. Altman, (Eds.), Disabled women and public policy: Where we’ve been, where we’re going [Special issue]. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 8(1&2), 129-156.

Discusses policy considerations related to the special needs of women who are disabled by mental illness; describes the four data sets on which the article is based; US. 1994 Disability Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS); 1992 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS); Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs of the US Social Security Administration; Disability-Adjusted Life Years, (DALYs), an international measure developed for a study sponsored by Harvard University, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Kilbourne, B. E., Baltrus, P. A., Williams-Brown, S., Caplan, L., Briggs, N. C., Roberts, K., Husaini, B. A., & Rust, G. E. (2008). Black-white disparities in elderly breast cancer mortality before and after implementation of Medicare benefits for screening mammography. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 19(1), 103-134.

Background. Medicare implemented reimbursement for screening mammography in 1991.

Main Findings. Post-implementation, breast cancer mortality declined faster (p=.0001) among White than among Black elderly women (65+ years). No excess breast cancer deaths occurred among Black elderly compared with White elderly through 1990; over 2,459 have occurred since. Contextual socioeconomic status does not explain differences between counties with lowest Black breast cancer mortality/post-implementation declines in disparity and counties with highest Black breast cancer mortality/widened disparity post-implementation.

Conclusions. The results lead to these hypotheses: (a) Medicare mammography reimbursement was causally associated with declines in elderly mortality and widened elderly Black:White disparity from breast cancer; (b) the latter reflects inherent Black-White differences in risk of breast cancer death; place-specific, unaddressed inequalities in capacity to use Medicare benefits; and/or other factors; (c) previous observations linking poverty with disparities in breast cancer mortality are partly confounded by factors explained by theories of human capability and diffusion of innovation.

Kutza, E. A. (1985). Benefits for the disabled: How beneficial for women? In M. J. Deegan, & N. A. Brooks (Eds.), Women and disability: The double handicap (pp. 68-86). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

This chapter examines the impact of current U.S. disability policy on women with disabilities. The author examines some of the major programs designed to assist people with disabilities, such as disability insurance, supplemental security income, workers' compensation and vocational rehabilitation. She argues that because of the relationship of these programs to labor market participation, these programs disadvantage women. Not only do women receive fewer benefits than men, they also receive lower benefits. The author concludes that there is an urgent need for reassessment of the impact of current disability policy on women with disabilities because current disability programs do not protect women with disabilities from economic threats associated with disability.

LeRoy, B. W., & Johnson, D. M. (2002, December). Open road or blind alley? Welfare reform, mothers, and children with disabilities. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 23(4), 323-337.

Welfare reform was examined for 39 Michigan families whose children have significant health or intellectual and behavioral disabilities. As a group, these families received little specialized assistance or services to address their unique needs. Family-cited barriers to self-sufficiency included poorly trained welfare caseworkers, limited public transportation, and inadequate child care. Having an older child was the only discriminating variable between working and non-working mothers. However, working mothers only had temporary positions with no benefits and low pay. All families, whether employed or not, lived below the poverty line. 

Lorber, J. (2000). Gender contradictions and status dilemmas in disability. In B. M. Altman & S. N. Barnartt (Eds.), Expanding the scope of social science research on disability [Research in Social Science and Disability Vol. 1]. (pp. 85-103). New York: Elsevier, Inc.

Both women and men have benefited from the successes of the disability rights movement, but the special needs of women with disabilities for jobs, sexual relationships, and a family life have not been so squarely faced. In this paper, I discuss gender differences in the roles and social status of people with disabilities. I argue that there are contradictions and status dilemmas in the beliefs about the characteristics of women and men with disabilities and that gender-related behavioral expectations create constraints for both. I also discuss the expectation that caregivers will be women and the effect of this expectation on the social roles of women and men with disabilities. Melding gender norms would be helpful, but just as people with disabilities have special needs if they are to live mainstream lives, women with disabilities also have special needs for services, especially around sexuality and procreation.

Magana, S. Parish, S. L. & Cassiman, S. A. (2008). Policy lessons from low-income mothers with disabilities. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 29(2), 181-206.

This focus group study examined the impact of income transfer programs such as Supplemental Security Income and the Wisconsin Caretaker Supplement from the perspective of low-income mothers with disabilities who are recipients of these programs. Participants reported that these programs were inadequate to meet their basic day to day needs in raising their children. Problems related to policy implementation identified by the women included inconsistently applied program rules, inadequate benefit levels, and confusion over work requirements as they affect benefits. Policy implications and recommendations for improving the quality of life for this population are discussed.

Masuda, S. (1998, March). The impact of block funding on women with disabilities.
Ottawa: Status of Women Canada. Retrieved May 7, 2005 from  

"Most Canadians are unaware of the changes brought about by block funding for health, education, welfare (social assistance), and social services, which have been consolidated under the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST). People most affected by these changes are those in need of health services and people on welfare and welfare disability benefits. Although these cuts affect all persons with disabilities who depend upon the social services, women with disabilities are generally in a worse position than men with disabilities. The changes affect about 60 percent of all women with disabilities on a very personal level. The purpose of this research was to look at the impact of block funding on women with disabilities…. This research, based on discussions with women with disabilities in focus groups in every province and territory in Canada, shows that the changes under the CHST have had a profound negative impact on our lives as women with disabilities…. The women who participated in the focus groups felt that the lives of women with disabilities in institutions have become increasingly difficult."

Mehdizedeh, S. A. (2002). Health and long-term care use trajectories of older disabled women. The Gerontologist, 42(3), 304-314.

Purpose: I examined health and long-term care use trajectories of a sample of chronically disabled older women eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid by exploring their use data in order to understand and anticipate the increasing demand on the health and long-term care delivery systems as aging female baby boomers reach age 65 and older.

Design and Methods: A sample of older disabled women in Ohio who completed preadmission review was divided into three groups on the basis of the setting in which they received their initial long-term care services.

Results: I was able to establish a long-term care career for the sample members beginning with receiving long-term care in the community, followed by a transition stage in which care was received in the community and in a nursing home, and finally by a stage at which they entered and remained in a nursing home. As the sample members proceeded along their long-term care career and their health and disability status worsened, I found a clear shift in the kind of care needed from hospital and home care to nursing home care. There was also a shift in the major payer, from Medicare to Medicaid.

Implications: As the baby boomers age, a much larger number of women will be disabled and need health and long-term care services. For a considerable number of these women, Medicaid gradually becomes the major payer for care, an issue that needs close observation. 

Mondéjar-Jiménez, J., Vargas-Vargas, M., Mondéjar-Jiménez, J., & Bayot, Mestre, A. (2009, August). An approach to the socio-labour situation of disabled women in rural communities in a Spanish region. Disability & Rehabilitation, 31(16), 1328-1337.

Disabled women suffer socio-labour discrimination because of both their gender and their disability. The situation is gradually improving, thanks to the national and supranational organisations, which in the past few decades have made considerable progress in improving the legislation, providing financial resources and encouraging social awareness. Despite this, few studies quantify this double discrimination in order to permit the evaluation of the socio-labour situation of this group of people. This scarcity is even more pronounced for rural areas, where many other factors hinder the integration of disabled women into the labour market and generate some specific problems that the specialist literature seldom addresses. The current work presents the results of a survey on the socio-economic situation of disabled women in a strongly rural area: the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha. It stresses the fundamental difficulties of these women in integrating into the labour market and the most urgent political measures needed to help this group.

Mudrick, N. A. (1988). Disabled women and public policies for income support. In M. Fine & A. Asch (Eds.), Women with disabilities: Essays in psychology, culture, and politics [Health, Society, and Policy Series] (pp. 245 268). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

In this chapter Nancy Mudrick examines the influence of income support programs on the lives of women with disabilities. She argues that women with disabilities are frequently poor as a result of their double disadvantage. First, women with disabilities are, similar to all other women, disadvantaged with respect to wages and employment. Second, they face additional difficulties as persons with disabilities. Mudrick demonstrates that income support is a crucial component of the very meager incomes women with disabilities depend upon. Despite the crucial importance of public income support for the livelihood of women with disabilities, benefits are usually both less accessible and smaller for women with disabilities than for men with disabilities.

Mudrick discusses the reasons for this unequal distribution of benefits between men and women with disabilities. She suggests that part of this difference may be a result of the poor fit between women's work patterns and the design of the programs, and part of the problem is rooted in societal attitudes toward women's economic roles and women's family roles, as well as societal attitudes toward women and men with disabilities.

National Disability Authority. (2006, June). Exploring the research and policy gaps: A review of literature on women and disability [Disability Research Series No. 7]. Dublin: Women’s Education, Research and Resource Centre (WERRC), School of Social Justice, University College Dublin. 

The National Disability Authority commissioned this review of literature on women and disability in order to explore where gender issues and disability issues intersect - where the issues for disabled women are significantly different because of their gender or the issues for women are significantly different because of their disability. The purpose of the research was to synthesise and summarise the state of knowledge in this area both in Ireland and internationally.
The following topics were considered in the review: 

  • the developing 'visibility' of disability, women and gender as a topic in the theoretical and research literature;
  • social welfare status of women with disabilities;
  • women, disability and poverty;
  • the labour market attachment of women with disabilities, exploring their participation in the labour force, income levels, work facilitation and assistance and how this impacts on their experience as women with disabilities;
  • issues for disabled women around personal assistance, examining economic and social issues associated with care and how these affect women's experience of disability;
  • the relationship between disability and sexuality and reproductive freedoms and how this impacts on women's gender and disability identity and their human rights;
  • communication difficulties of women with disabilities.

This report is availble in PDF and HMTL formats online at:

National Women’s Law Center. (2003, January). Women of color and Social 
Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved April 6, 2005 from  

Women of color have a special stake in Social Security reform. The debate over the future of Social Security reform has not fully addressed the unique circumstances of women of color. With their low lifetime earnings and long life spans on average, African American and Hispanic women benefit greatly from Social Security’s progressive benefit formula and lifelong, inflation-adjusted benefits. They also draw disproportionately on Social Security’s benefits for disabled workers and for the families of workers who become disabled or die prematurely.  
National Women's Law Center. (2005, February). Social Security: Women, children and the states. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from  

The National Women’s Law Center has released this report to provide a reality check on the importance of Social Security benefits to women and their families and the true impact of benefit cuts contemplated in the plan. This report provides helpful state-by-state information for advocates making the case to local media and their Members of Congress about protecting this critical program. Each state's information is separated out at  

Ncube, A. (2004, July). Political participation of women with disabilities. Sister Namibia, 16(3).

“What is the present reality facing differently abled women with regard to participation in general? Are women with disability visible? If they are, where are they visible? What prevents their visibility? Do you see them in the family? Do you see them participating actively in the community? Are they visible in meaningful positions in the disability movement? I will not even ask the question in relation to their participation in the political mainstream.

We need to understand the factors that make it difficult for differently abled women to engage actively. We need to recognise the double, even multiple sources of invisibility of certain categories of women and girls. Depending on economic status, ethnicity, tribe, (dis)ability, colour, caste, HIV status, and age, some women and girls may suffer multiple forms of discrimination, thus making their functioning in civil society particularly difficult.”

Parish, S. L., & Ellison-Martin, M. J. (2007). Health-care access of women Medicaid recipients: Evidence of disability-based disparities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 18(2), 109-116.

Little is known about the health care received by women with disabilities, who comprise a substantial subset of the population. This article describes the health care of a national sample of low-income female Medicaid recipients. Despite having similar potential for care (health insurance, usual source of care, and having a physician as a usual source of care) as compared to nondisabled women, women with disabilities had substantially worse rates of receiving medical care and medication when they were needed and of cervical cancer screenings. Women with disabilities were also much less likely to be satisfied with their care than were nondisabled women. These results support calls to mandate quality-based reimbursement incentives within Medicaid, specifically for women with disabilities

Parish, S. L., Rose, R. A., & Andrews, M. E. (2009, March). Income poverty and material hardship among U.S. women with disabilities. Social Service Review, 83(1), 33-52.

This study analyzes the 2002 wave of the National Survey of America’s Families to describe income poverty and material hardship among women with and without disabilities in the United States. Results suggest that women with disabilities experience such hardships as food insecurity, housing instability, inadequate health care, and loss of phone service at rates that are higher than those among nondisabled women. Rates of hardship remain higher even after adjusting for a host of individual characteristics, including marital status, age, race, and education. Although hardship declines as incomes rise for all women, those with disabilities show worse outcomes at every income level and experience substantial levels of hardship well into the middle and upper income ranges. The federal poverty level does not accurately capture women’s experiences of material hardship, and these discrepancies are considerably worse among women with disabilities.

Peters, Y. (2003, February). Federally sentenced women with mental disabilities: A dark corner in Canadian human rights. North Bay, ON: DisAbled Women’s Action Network (DAWN) Canada. Retrieved September 27, 2006 from

This is a special report on the Canadian government's treatment of women serving federal terms of imprisonment, focusing on the discrimination against women prisoners on the grounds of sex, race and cognitive and mental disabilities. In this report, DAWN Canada provides a human rights analysis of the laws and policies that govern how Correctional Service Canada (CSC) deals with federally sentenced women ("FSW") living with a mental disability.

Poverty Fact Sheet #3.
(2000, October 11). Kitchener, ON: The Urban Poverty Consortium of Waterloo Region. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from  

This brief fact sheet covers statistics concerning poverty and disability in the Waterloo region in Canada, with a mention of women with disabilities.

Randolph, D. S., & Andresen, E. M. (2004). Disability, gender, and unemployment relationships in the United States from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system. Disability & Society, 19(4), 403-414.

Women with disabilities face simultaneous oppression in employment due to discrimination with regard to disability and gender. This article investigates the potential disparity in participation in employment for women, particularly women with disabilities. We analysed weighted data from disability surveillance programs and the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) on over 47,000 respondents. The disability BRFSS was a telephone survey in 11 states and Washington DC. Logistic regression analyses produced adjusted models of the association between gender and employment. Compared with people without disabilities, there were disparities found for people with disabilities, and women with and without disabilities, with the larger discrepancy for women without disabilities. Additional detail about level of employment is needed to make conclusive statements; however, it is clear that disparities in employment continue to exist for women, regardless of their disability status.

Reeves, D., & Sheridan, C. (Eds.). (2003, April). Gender equality and plan making: The gender mainstreaming toolkit. London: Royal Town Planning Institute. Retrieved June 6, 2005 from  

“This gender mainstreaming toolkit provides practical guidance on how to incorporate gender issues into planning at the local level, helping promote equality between women and men. The target audience for this toolkit includes those responsible for formulating and implementing planning policy (policy planners), making decisions about the content of planning policy (elected members), and implementing planning policy (development control planners or development facilitators). The toolkit will also be useful for those engaged with the planning process, including community groups, groups representing women and men and those providing advice to communities such as consultants and Planning Aid organisations.”

While not specific to disability, it is considered a factor in planning and development as a diversity concern.

Reid, C., & Tom, A. (2006, June). Poor women's discourses of legitimacy, poverty, and health. Gender Society, 20, 402-421.

In this study, we sought a better understanding of how poor women made meaning of their poverty and health. Twenty research participants used varied, multiple, and at times contradictory discourses that shaped their identities as both legitimate and powerful and illegitimate and powerless. We identified four discourses in the women's talk--illegitimate dependencies, legitimate dependencies, overwhelming odds, and critique and collectivism. These four discourses revealed complexes of meanings and networks of interpretation that subverted, accommodated, and reinterpreted dominant discourses of poverty and health. This examination is relevant for feminist researchers attempting to understand the impact of dominant discourses in the lives of socially marginalized women who continually struggle to establish and strengthen claims to legitimacy and moral worth. 

The Roeher Institute. (2001). Disability-related support arrangements, policy options and implications for women's equality. Toronto: Author. Retrieved May 7, 2005 from  

This report examines equality issues of women with disabilities and the women who provide support to them in the context of caregiving relationships. The report looks at the barriers that women face, and puts forward a way of thinking about equality which is based on the lived experiences of the women interviewed as well as current feminist and disability theory.

Roetzheim, R. G., & Chirikos, T. N. (2002, November). Breast cancer detection and outcomes in a disability beneficiary population. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 13(4), 461-476.

Women with disabilities may be at higher risk of late-stage breast cancer. Using the 1991-93 Medicare-Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-linked data set, the authors compared stage at diagnosis and mortality, for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)-qualifying women and similarly aged non-SSDI qualifying women. Disabled patients were diagnosed at a later American Joint Committee on Cancer stage. Disabled patients had higher all-cause mortality rates but had similar breast cancer-specific mortality. Disabled women belonging to Medicare HMOs tended to have earlier stage diagnosis and better survival compared to Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) insurance. In conclusion, disabled patients tended to be diagnosed with breast cancer at a later stage and to have higher mortality. These findings were more pronounced in Medicare FFS than in Medicare HMOs.

Schleiter, M. K. Statham, A., & Reinders, T. (2006). Challenges faced by women with disabilities under TANF. Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 27(3), 81-95.

A number of studies report the multiple problems facing women during the welfare reform transition. Within this group is a large number of single mothers struggling with both poverty and chronic health problems or disabilities. Those with these additional challenges might be expected to experience less success in moving out of poverty than those without these health challenges. In this study, we examine the progress of 178 women around the state of Wisconsin who were interviewed repeatedly about their experiences with welfare reform and poverty between 1997 and 2000, when the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program was being implemented. The incidence of health problems is related to level of education, and the type of disability has major impacts on expected outcome. Those with less education are more likely to suffer from health problems, especially mental health issues, depression and post-traumatic stress, which seem to be the most debilitating. These women also had difficulty accessing non-work support, such as Supplement Security Income (SSI), a federal assistance program for disabled persons with little or no income, or assistance from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), a federal and state program of assistance to promote the employment abilities of adults with disabilities.

Schriner, K. F., Barnartt, S. N., & Altman, B. M. (1997). Disabled women and public policy: Where we’ve been, where we’re going [Special issue]. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 8(1&2).

This special issue of The Journal of Disability Policy Studies includes nine empirical and theoretical articles by scholars in disability studies, personal statements by five prominent women with disabilities who identify current issues, and book reviews. Articles cover aspects of gender and disability differences in education and occupation of adults with hearing loss; social security disability decisions; predictors of wages; social patterning of work disability among women in Canada; access to acute medical care; abuse of women with disabilities; mental health and women with disabilities; a feminist perspective on the social causes of impairment, disability, and abuse; and an overview of arenas for policy change concerning women with disabilities in developing countries.

Schriner, K. F., Shields, T. G., & Schriner, K. (1999). The effect of gender and race on the political participation of people with disabilities in the 1994 mid-term election. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 9(2), 53-76.

The article describes research on voter turnout, uncovering important differences in the voting patterns of subgroups of the American Polity. An analysis of the 1994 Current Population Survey-Voter Supplement, which includes controlling for income and educational attainment, indicates that men with disabilities are less likely to register than are women with disabilities and nondisabled persons, while women with disabilities are less likely to actually vote. Both women and men with disabilities, however, are more likely to vote than nondisabled persons. After controlling for socioeconomic factors, African-American women have the highest probability of registering and voting, and Caucasian men and women with disabilities have the lowest rates of registering and voting. The likelihood of registering and voting increases with educational attainment in all groups, but the differences between the probabilities are greater at lower levels of educational attainment.

Schur, L. (2003). Contending with the “double handicap”: Political activism among women with disabilities. Women & Politics, 25(1/2), 31-62.

To what extent do women with disabilities experience a “double handicap,” and how do the economic and social disparities they face affect political activism? This paper analyzes these disparities and political activism among women and men with and without disabilities using data from national household surveys conducted in 1998 and 2000. Women with disabilities have particularly low employment and income levels, and lower self-evaluations of civic skills and internal political efficacy, but are similar to men with disabilities in educational attainment and psychological well-being. Their overall political participation is lower than that of men and women without disabilities, which is primarily explained by lower employment and income levels and greater social isolation. They are less likely than men with disabilities to participate in several political activities, but equally likely to take action on disability issues and more likely to participate in protests and take action against perceived discrimination.

Snyder, M. (1999, April 26). Issues in gender-sensitive and disability-responsive policy research, training and action. Paper presented at the Seminar on Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods of Persons with Disabilities, United Nations, New York, NY. Retrieved March 1, 2005 from  

"Human rights is the critical issue for all persons with disabilities. However, there are additional, gendered issues that make contending with disability a far tougher task for women."

Springer-Sullivan, C. (2005). The resurrection of “female hysteria” in present-day ERISA disability law. Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, 20, 67-74.

The author reflects on her work representing people with disabilities filing claims for Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), especially her experiences representing women with disabilities “typically labeled [as] ‘women’s illnesses’ such as fibromyalgia and lupus” (p. 67).

Stienstra, D., Watters, C., Grant, H., Huang, H., & Troschuk, L. (2004, July). Women with Disabilities: Accessing Trade. Ottawa, ON: Status of Women Canada. Available:

This report addresses the key research question: How can Canadian trade policies ensure access and inclusion for women with disabilities? It also highlights the major issues of concern to women with disabilities both as consumers and as entrepreneurs.

Strong, M. F., & Haight-Liotta, S. (1997). When a mother has a disability: Dealing with disability in the AFDC and CPS systems. Oakland, CA: Berkeley Planning Associates, Meeting the Needs of Women with Disabilities: A Blueprint for Change.
Booklet designed for social workers in Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Child Protective Services (CPS) programs who are working with mothers who have disabilities. Topics include a brief introduction to mothers with disabilities and typical discrimination faced by the population; work-welfare requirements as they relate to women who have disabilities; social service requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); disability-specific considerations; and strategies for improving social service program provisions to mothers with disabilities. An appendix includes bibliographies and resources.

Turner, L. J., Danzinger, S., & Seefeldt, K. (2006, June). Failing the transition from welfare to work: Women chronically disconnected from employment and cash welfare. Social Science Quarterly, 87(2), 227-249.

Objectives. Although employment among welfare mothers increased substantially following the 1996 welfare reform, some former welfare recipients failed to find stable employment. We review the extent to which low-income mothers are without work and cash welfare for long periods of time and seek to understand the correlates of becoming chronically disconnected.

Methods. We analyze data from a 1997–2003 panel study of single mothers who received cash welfare in an urban county in Michigan in February 1997. We develop a new measure of the extent to which former recipients are “chronically disconnected” from both employment and cash welfare and estimate regression models of the correlates of this economic outcome.

Results. About 9 percent of respondents became chronically disconnected, defined as being without employment and cash welfare during at least one-quarter of the months during the 79-month study period. Important correlates of becoming chronically disconnected include having a physical limitation, having a learning disability, using illegal drugs or meeting the diagnostic screening criteria for alcohol dependence, and having no car or driver license. The chronically disconnected are more likely to have lost a job than to have lost welfare benefits and are more economically disadvantaged than those with regular sources of economic support.

Conclusions. To reduce the number of women who fail to make a successful transition from welfare to work, more attention should be given to programs and policies that attempt to reconnect disconnected women to regular sources of economic support.

Welch, P. (2002, September 8-10). Applying the capabilities approach in examining disability, poverty and gender. Paper presented at Promoting Women's Capabilities: Examining Nussbaum's Capabilities Approach, Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmund's College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. Retrieved July 27, 2005 from  

This paper explores the similarities related to disability, poverty, and gender. Overlapping issues are described, which set the context for examining these issues using a single framework—namely, a capabilities approach. Although the effects of disability, poverty and gender are measured by different mechanisms, the parallels between these issues facilitate the application of the capabilities approach to explore their relationships. Both Martha Nussbaum’s and Amartya Sen’s capabilities approaches are applied in addressing these issues. 

Witherow, J. K. (2002, November/December). Card carrying member of Medicaid. Special feature: Women and disability [Part I]. (2002, November/December). Off Our Backs, 32(11/12), 25-28.

Witherow discusses the ways in which state and federal funding for Medicaid and Medicare has been decreased or diverted to other programs. Witherow considers the situation in Maryland, where people who participate in the public health care system are subjected to a system riddled by mismanagement and incompetence.